Saturday, 21 October 2017

Get Your Spook on - the Perfect Music for Your Halloween Party!


I love Halloween. The creepy music, the gratuitous use of fake blood, the perfect excuse to wear a witch's hat to your lectures.

(Objection! You've never done that.)

No, I haven't, but damn do I wish I had the confidence.

Whether you're having a party or not, there's no time like Halloween to update your playlist with a few spooky songs. Here are a few ideas.

This Mash-Up by Peter Hollens and Bailey Pelkman

I came across this the other day. It's a mash-up of the utterly haunting 'Come Little Children' and a song called 'The Hanging Tree' which was...not what I was expecting.

(She was expecting the Blackmore's Night song.)

I was expecting the Blackmore's Night song.

The vocals are brilliant and, let's be honest, these two songs are sinister enough on their own. Adding them together is genius.

Folk Music

I don't know a lot of people who listen to folk music, which is sad because there are some unearthly gems in that genre. 

A couple of years ago, when I was doing some Halloween baking, I came across a song called 'Mordred's Lullaby' by Heather Dale. It's absolutely bone-chilling, which is fitting given that Mordred is either Arthur's nephew or illegitimate son via incest and also destined to kill him. Just your average mythical family. Most of the Heather Dale songs I've come across are based on folktales or myths (she has an entire album on Arthurian mythology alone). There are some about monsters ('Medusa', 'Changeling Child', 'Skeleton Woman') and some about battles ('War Between Brothers'). Even if you're not a Halloween person, I'd recommend her music to anyone who writes. It's great for atmosphere.

You might also want to check out the folk rock duo Blackmore's Night. They have a song called 'The Hanging Tree' from the perspective of the eponymous tree, songs about monsters ('Loreley'), songs about tragic historical figures ('Catherine Howard's Fate')... You should also check out 'The Circle', which always makes me think of witches for some reason.

Metal Music

Not to sound like an emo teen cliche, but you can never go wrong with Evanescence. Everyone knows 'Bring Me to Life', of course, but they have some other great numbers for the spookiest holiday of the year. The utterly haunting 'Lithium' and 'Hello', for example, or 'Tourniquet', which contains themes of religion and death. They also have a song called 'Haunted', which is just too topical not to play.

Whilst we're talking about metal music, there's a band called Skillet who have a song about being a monster (fittingly entitled 'Monster').

Soundtracks

*Cracks knuckles* Now we're getting somewhere. Before we descend on the West End, I'd like to remind you that The Corpse Bride and The Nightmare Before Christmas are both musicals.
https://giphy.com/gifs/plan-9-from-outer-space-wnVRKdYepCaQw
 
My personal favourite from those films is 'Tears to Shed' from The Corpse Bride.

On the musical front, I don't think there's a more sorrowful song out there than 'I Dreamed a Dream' from Les Miserables. There's 'No One Mourns the Wicked' (from Wicked, obviously) and 'Burn' from Hamilton, if you fancy something a little more vengeful. You should also check out the Heathers soundtrack simply because it's the most morbid musical ever. 

Happy Halloweening.

What are your Halloween plans? Do you know what you're going to be on the spookiest night of the year?

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Shakespeare Plays with Terrible Morals

(They're not fables.)

Maybe not, but Shakespeare plays can teach us important life lessons. For example...


Romeo and Juliet

If you're going to fake your own death, warn your husband first.  

(I thought the moral of Romeo and Juliet was that you shouldn't rush into things?)

Oh shush. 

Macbeth

When returning home from battle avoid strange old ladies.

Much Ado about Nothing

Always check your facts. That means you, Claudio.

Hamlet

Talking to ghosts only leads to the creation of more ghosts.


Titus Andronicus

Always check on your relatives before eating something prepared by an enemy. 

(Hey. Her sons got exactly what was coming to them.)

For once, we agree. 


The Winter's Tale

Making false accusations will kill your first-born child.

(How?)

I don't know. Ask Shakespeare. 

The Tempest

Usurpers shouldn't travel by boat.

Measure for Measure

Never cross a Duke.
 
 Can you think of any more morals for Shakespeare plays?

Sunday, 1 October 2017

September Wrap-Up (Sunday Post)

Hosted by Kimberley @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer
It's the end of September, which is tragic because it means we're entering the tenth month of the year and I am yet to achieve any of my goals. It also means that uni's just started up again. Right now, everything's calm, but there's a storm on the horizon. 

Oh, and did I mention that I'm a third year now? 

https://giphy.com/gifs/L95W4wv8nnb9K

News from the Reading Front

This was actually a really good month for reading. I read nine books: four novels, three manga books, a comic, and a play.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer - 5 stars - Review

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

Charlotte Says by Alex Bell - 4 stars - Review

Bleak House by Charles Dickens - 1 star 

A Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare

I've read 68 of the 100 books I pledged for the reading challenge so far, which means that I'm six books behind.

Other Bookish News that Might Interest You
  • The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman has had its release date changed to January. This is the saddest thing that has ever happened and I think we should all cry together. [Source]
  • The final Magnus Chase book comes out on the 3rd of October. Who's ready for Ragnarok? [Source]
  • On Goodreads, people are still rating books before they've read them. [Source]
News from the Writing Front

Now that term's started, I have writing to do for my course, so I'm only aiming to add a certain number of chapters to my personal project per week. This week, it's just the one and a half. 

Today marks one month until the start of NaNoWriMo. Who's game?

(You shouldn't be.)

*Waves hand* I can manage. Maybe. What's the worst case scenario? I won't win? I can handle that. I mean, I lose loads when I do Camp NaNo. It's not like there's much of a difference.

(Is that why you're shaking?)

I'm not shaking. I'm shivering. It's really cold in here.

News from the Blogging Front

Earlier this month I made the colossal mistake of deleting the picasa web album which contained every single picture on the blog. Have I reuploaded them all? Ha. Ha. Not even close. In fact, some posts may need to be taken down completely as I no longer have the images and they just won't work without them. Please bear with me as I fix my blog half as fast as a snail crawling across my keyboard could.

With the exception of the above, this has been a pretty good blogging month. I didn't have internet at home for a week and I still managed to post seven times. That's twice more than last month!

Most Read Post of the Month: Five Books that Got Better.

Least Read Post of the Month: I Seriously Have to Wait FOUR Books for the Happy Ending (Cinder by Marissa Meyer)


How's your month been? Will you be taking part in NaNoWriMo this year?

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

On Wednesdays We Wear Black

(WARNING. This post contains major spoilers for the first book in The Invisible Library series.)
http://www.brokeandbookish.com/p/top-ten-tuesday-other-features.html
We're linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday. This week, the theme is 'Ten Books that Feature Characters...' so bust out your eyeliner and put on your leather jacket, because we're talking about characters who wear black.

1. Thalia Grace and Nico di Angelo from Rick Riordan's Greek Stuff

Thalia: I wear black, listen to Green Day, and have a shield with Medusa's face on it. Ain't no one edgier than me!
  
Nico: *Strolls in wearing a skull ring with zombies springing up from the ground in his wake*

Thalia: *Leaves*

(I think those events might be in the wrong order. Nico couldn't summon zombies until the end of The Titan's Curse, and as for the ring -)

It's a joke, Ivy.

(An inaccurate one.)

...Next you'll be telling me that Thalia didn't leave because of Nico.

(She didn't.)

Oh my God... 


2. Ronan Lynch from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Wears black leather. Owns a raven. Would fight Glendower behind McDonald's at 3am, but Glendower probably wouldn't show.
 
3. Most of the Villains in the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Voldemort. Bellatrix. Snape, although whether or not he's actually a villain is up to interpretation. He's certainly not a saint.

(Harry would disagree.)

A moment of silence for Albus Severus Potter.

4. Kai from The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

When Irene first meets Kai, he's wearing a black leather jacket. Kind of ironic, given that Kai is from a race of beings associated with order and leather jackets are typically associated with rebels.
5. Jared and Lucas in The Legion Series by Kami Garcia

They're ghost-hunters and involved in a love triangle with the heroine. 

(They have truly earned their leather jackets.)

Don't forget to link me to your TTT posts!

Thursday, 14 September 2017

It's a Prequel! (Charlotte Says by Alex Bell)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35005611-charlotte-says
4/5

"Houses talked all the time, it was just that nobody ever thought to listen." - Alex Bell, Charlotte Says, Page 112

Charlotte Says is the prequel to Frozen Charlotte . Set in 1910 at Dunvegan School for Girls, it follows Jemima Black, a seventeen year old who lost her mother and stepfather in a house fire she can't quite remember. It answers several important questions, such as why the Frozen Charlotte dolls are evil, how they ended up on the Isle of Skye, and why they ended up LITERALLY CEMENTED INTO THE WALLS OF THE BASEMENT.

There's something addictive about this book. I found it fairly mediocre at the beginning and yet I also couldn't put it down, as if to stop reading would be to break the spell. I think part of the problem was Jemima. I did not like Jemima. The first two people she met, she immediately disliked. One went on to treat her terribly, whilst the other was just plain catty. It wasn't until later that it clicked that Jemima was the one narrating the story...

There's a number of side characters. Henry, the love interest, who's sweet, and kind, and not much else. Or, at least, that's the way he seems. A decision that he makes at the end makes me wonder if there isn't more going on beneath the surface. Miss Grayson, who treated the girls and Jemima in exactly the same way. Abusively. Although, I suppose, given the time period, most of it wasn't at the time. Cassie, who was catty, yes, but no cattier than Jemima herself was with her. Of the schoolgirls, Estella gets the most focus. I guessed the truth about her very early on - mainly because of Jemima meeting Dolores.

The second half of the book will shock you. I got elements of what really happened the night of the fire correct, but nowhere near the entire thing. After that, Jemima becomes much more involved with the Frozen Charlotte dolls and the real games begin... 
 
Do you prefer prequels or sequels?